She likes to drink her coffee black
And talk about all of her cats
Who come to visit around back in the mornings
Her glassy blue eyes flit from her food to my face
“Did you get enough to eat?”
I look at my plate, which overflows with a bounty of bacon, eggs, and toast
All chaperoned by butter, milk, coffee, and orange juice.
“Yes ma’am,” I reply.
I don’t drink orange juice, I can’t stand the pulp
But I gulp–
As I oblige because her hands
Her skilled, swift, withered, wonderful hands
Have woken up to hard work in the kitchen all the 21 years I’ve been alive
She mentions the birds, her eyes dancing– the latest wren, cardinal, blue jay, and swan
that passes by the double window overlooking the winding creek
She tells me about her modeling days and how she felt so wobbly within herself as she stunned on the catwalk
She tells me about her plants and how they’ve grown beyond their pots and how she wishes
How she wishes she could just step outside to bend and tend her roses
The ambition evaporated to a flicker of resignation as her eyes return to her hands
Her skilled, swift, withered, wonderful, beautiful hands
Hands that hold the mug of that freshly brewed bitter blackness
An arms length away from the plastic pop-open pill box
to remind her
6 for the morning and 2 and 1/2 for the evening.